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Poland’s Pro-Abortion Mob

Activists seen in Krakow's center close to the Bishop's Palace (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto/GettyImages)

This has not been widely reported in the US, but my Polish readers are telling me that things are erupting there over the nation’s Constitutional Tribunal’s recent abortion ruling. The New York Times gives background:

Prior to Thursday’s ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal, Poland had permitted terminations only for fetal abnormalities, in case of a threat to a woman’s health or in the case of incest or rape. But in practice, the overwhelming majority of legal abortions — 1,074 of 1,100 performed last year — resulted from fetal abnormalities.

However, the latest court ruling held that abortions for fetal abnormalities violate the Constitution — a decision that cannot be appealed.

Still, this category of abortions represents only a small fraction of those obtained by Polish women. Many already go abroad for abortions or have them illegally. Common obstacles to legal termination include lengthy waits and doctors refusing to perform them.

Doctors in Poland can refuse to perform a legal abortion and may also refuse to prescribe contraception on religious grounds. And there is very little financial and psychological support for families of disabled children, who are left to fend for themselves once the child is born.

In the court ruling, the tribunal’s president, Julia Przylebska, said that allowing abortions for fetal abnormalities legalized “eugenic practices.” Because Poland’s Constitution guarantees the protection of human life, she added, termination based on the health of a fetus amounted to “a directly forbidden form of discrimination.”

Protesters are demanding that the court reverse itself and a growing number are also calling for liberalization of the abortion law. Protests have spread from cities to towns and villages and women’s groups have found support from some unlikely corners, including taxi drivers, farmers and coal miners, all with their own grievances against the government.

One reader has been at protests in Warsaw and elsewhere in the country. From his texts and photos:

A different Polish reader writes to share something he wrote on Facebook, about how pro-abortion Poles are reacting:

He continues:

You’ll need to google translate for more info, but Wojciech Cejrowski (one of the good guys, Catholic, against all abortion) is saying hell is howling and blaspheming in reaction to this decision.
It’s as if an exorcism is being performed on a possessed person, the way these feminazis are behaving.

Father Marcin Kowalski, a Polish priest, writes in National Catholic Register that the Polish supreme court issued its ruling on the feast day of Pope St. John Paul II. He goes on:

The decision of the Constitutional Tribunal eliminating the patho-embryological premise of abortion has raised a lot of controversy in Poland. Poland already had one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, which was established on the basis of a social compromise in the 1990s. It allowed abortion as a result of a threat to the mother’s health, rape and damage or serious illness of the unborn child. The first two premises were maintained; only the third was questioned as unconstitutional.

Statistics show that in 2017, out of about 1,200 abortions, about 1,000 were performed for patho-embryological or eugenic reasons. The mere suspicion of an unborn child being disabled led to pressure on the mother to abort her child. It could be done at virtually any stage of pregnancy. It has also been advised in situations that involve babies with Down syndrome. In the latter case, social awareness of the need to protect the lives of these children and respect for them is growing. After all, every March 21 we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. In this respect, the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal meets the social awareness and expectations.

So Poland has outlawed eugenic abortions. That is why the crowds are on the streets. And in the churches, disrupting masses (see photos here). Here, embedded in a tweet, is a startling image:

Polish readers, please send more details about what’s happening in your country. I don’t want to offer a comment until I better understand the issue. Obviously my strong sympathy is with the pro-life side, but I want to know more before I say anything else.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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